Remains of the Carian city of Alabanda lie south of Aydin, in the village of Araphisar. Take Highway 6, running between Aydin and Muğla, to Çine. The ruins are seven kilometers west of Cine. This location puts Alabanda in ancient Caria proper, south of the Meander River, west of Marsias, or the Turkish Cine Çayı River.
The city was situated on a broad plain at the base of two hlfls to the south. This plain made up the territory of Alabanda which was controlled from the acropolis on the eastern hill,
HISTORY OF ALABANDA
The earliest founding af Alabanda is attributed to the mythical King Kor who won a decisive cavalry battle on this plain. The name means: horse fata), victory (banda). Herodotus mentions Alabanda with respect to the Persian invasion of Greece in 480 B.C. Later mention is made at the end of the third century when a traveller to Delphi praised the government and stability of Alabanda. Shortly after, the city ond territory was declared free ând1 inviolable. The Seleucld Kings might ordinarily have enjoyed a great sense of security from this honor. The following year, however, King Philip of Macedon sacked the city in his conquest of Caria, ignoring the Delphian declaration of Alabando’s status.
During the rule of the Seieucids. the city’s name was changed to Antiochela. It was again changed to Aiabanda with the destruction of Seleucid power in 190 B.C., when Lycia and Caria south of the Meander were given to Rhodes. Alabanda acted as a free city during this period, and is known to have token sides with Mylasa against Rhodes in 167. And during the Roman period, Alabanda carried on just as freely, sustaining good relations with the Empire. The city was immune from taxation with the status of «convectus*, a speciaJ rank from the provincial governor. The city was later to become a bishopric.
Early colonization was under control of the Seieucids which resulted in a predominantly Greek population. Alabanda had always been an important center, enjoying a great cfeaJ of prosperity and culture. A valuable gift to Rome as welf as a temple in her honor were tributes to the Imperial city in 170 B.C. The earliest silver coins were minted with the old name, Antiocheia, in the second century B.C. The city was sadly in debt to Rome, however, for a period during the first century B.C. It later gained a reputation of luxur and debauchery from its wealthy citizens. Natural materials nec-cessary for manufactured goods were abundant in the area and included dark marble, used in giass-making, and hemp. A unique gem, similar ta garnet, was also mined and exported.
The city’s craftsmen were especially noted for their crystal, made from localiy produced glass. Sculptors thrived as did stonecutters and other building craftsmen as the need for elaborate structures grew especially religious structures. The architecture was primarily of the Roman type, along the Hellenistic lines of Hermogenes. And many exceptional friezes were uncovered at the site; several depicted the Greek and Amazon wars. Fine cojns with Pegasus, the winged horse, show an early interest in this art form.
RUINS OF ALABANDA
An archaeloglcol mission from Istanbul under the leadership of Hamdi Bey undertook excavations at Alabanda in 1905 – 06.
The Walls: The ancient city’s walls enclosed a large area on the plain, at the foot of the two hills,, and extended along their crests. Unfortunately, nothing much remains of the city walls in the lower area. Many of the ruins hove been plundered or inundated atÿi covered by soil washed down by a flooding stream. Atop the two hills, there are several well-preserved portions of the wells where its numerous towers can be recognized. Six or seven gates are indicated by gaps in the wall.
The Council-House: A rectangular building on the plain near the south wall is well-preserved though unexcavated, ft is said to have been a council house, and is the most noticeable building on the site.
The Temples : On the S W hill stand the foundations of a temple of the Doric order. This structure was uncovered by the excavations in 1905, There were eleven unfluted columns on each side and six at each end. The west end, unlike most other temples, was the front of the building. It is presumed, though not certain, that this was □ Temple of Artemis. A statuette of Artemis-Hecate was found by the excavators as well as a number of coins with the heod of Apollo dating the temple to around 2000 B.C. The excavations of 1905 also unearthed a Temple of Apollo in the Ionic order. It was the most important building of the ancient city, and was originally thought to have been built by Hermogenes himself, from a text by Vitruvius. The translation has, however, come into doubt. There were thirteen white marble columns on each side and eight at the front and back. Portions of a frieze depicting a battle between Greeks and Amazons were found, and an inscription indicates the dedication of the temple to Apollo Isotemus and the Divine Emperors. Unfortunately, not much remoins of the excavated temple but a few blocks of marble.
Theater: Little remains of the theater which stood at the foot of the southeastern hill. Only the retaining walls can be seen today. Prom their dimensions, it is estimated that the theater’s façade was about ninety meters long. Of the seats and stage, nothing remains, and no excavations have been carried out on the building. It is thought to dote to pre-Roman times, however.
The Baths :Of the Hellenistic and Roman baths which once stood to the east of the Temple of Apollo, nothing remains but a pile of stones. No excavations have been undertaken.
The Agora : What was once the Agora lies between the counctl house and the baths. It covered an area of 72×112 meters, but not much of It can be, seen today.
The Necropolis : Outside the walls, to the west, is a necropolis in which hundreds of tombs were found. They are plain granite sarcophagi with worn inscriptions indicating the professions of the deceased.